RV Investment: Good or Bad?
Buying an RV, whether new or used, is a big investment. But is it worth it? That depends. If you love the RV lifestyle and plan to use your RV often, then yes.
However, any new RV will quickly lose value, similar to how a new car will lose value. Trailers lose their value very quickly, but a motorhome, especially a top of the line Class B van, may hold value a little longer.
Know What You’re Buying
If you are buying a used RV make sure you inspect it thoroughly before you buy it. Some problems are very difficult and expensive to repair.
On both motorhomes and trailers, make sure to inspect the roof for any damage. Likewise, inspect the ceiling for signs of water leaks. Look at the exterior panels to make sure they’re in good shape. See if there are any soft spots on the floor, indicating rot. Look for signs of mold and mildew. And finally, make sure all of the appliances work, including the air conditioner and furnace.
If you are buying a motorhome, you’ll also need to inspect the engine and transmission. Look at the tires; tires for a motorhome can be very expensive. It can be worth it to let an RV mechanic go over any RV before you buy it.
Once again, RVs are similar to cars, the older they get, the more repairs they will need. However, the same can be said for a house.
Is Traveling in an RV Cheaper Than Staying in a Hotel?
Overall, yes, RV travel is cheaper than staying at a hotel. You can prepare your meals in the RV which is cheaper than eating out. Likewise, you can find free or very inexpensive places to stay for one night or even two weeks. The big expense with RV travel is gas; unless you’re driving a small Class B van, most RVs get only 5-10 mpg, and that includes a pickup truck towing a trailer. One way to save money on gas, as well as wear and tear on the engine, is to stay longer at each stop. Constant driving costs a lot of money in gas.
If you only plan to use your RV a few weeks out of the year, then it may not be worth it; in fact, it may be cheaper to stay at hotels.
Where Will You Park It?
In some cities and neighborhoods, it’s illegal to park your RV at your home when you’re not using it. That means you’ll need to pay for monthly storage; that’s not only one more monthly bill, but it’s also a risk. One of the most common places for an RV to be stolen is from a storage facility.
The bottom line is if you love the RV lifestyle, then yes, an RV can be a good lifestyle investment. However, if you only plan to use it infrequently, or want to travel to big cities, rather than out in nature, buying an RV may not be worth it.